Dine at Trumps and some notables will be looking over your shoulder. In celebration of its 10th anniversary, the Westside restaurant has chosen 29 portraits of prominent locals to peer down on its diners. The paintings are by 14 artists. The main piece is a series of 40 photographic portraits by David Hockney hanging over the bar.
“Restaurants are about people,” said co-owner and chef Michael Roberts. “What could be better than having people on the walls?”
A close second might be wall-to-wall people filling the restaurant for the exhibit’s opening Monday evening. It was a crowd heavy with art lovers who generally applauded the idea of showcasing art in restaurants. “It’s a great idea,” said Henry Geldzahler, former curator of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. “It works as decor. Sometimes it even works as art.”
“The more exposure, the better,” said artist David Limrite. I don’t care where it hangs.” Artist Ian Falconer liked the idea of portraits in restaurants. “It’s a nice change. They usually have a lot of minimalists.”
Coincidentally, both Hockney and Geldzahler quoted the line by Peter De Vries: “Art is so bad in restaurants to get back at museums for serving such lousy food.”
There seemed to be no complaints about either the food or the art from the artists and subjects present. The painters included Don Bachardy, Sylvia Shap, Falconer, Kim McCarty, Limrite, Joe Fay and Ron Meyers. Among the subjects were Marcia Weisman, Dr. Arnie Klein, Earl McGrath, Morris Pynoos, Mario Tamayo, Michael McCarty, Thom Guitterez, Daniel Adams, William Escalera, Sabato Fiorello, and Joan and Jack Quinn and their daughters Amanda and Jennifer.
One guest who saw social commentary in the scene was J.C. Suares, creative director of Connoisseur magazine, who said, “It used to be that artists were famous and cooks cooked. Now cooks are famous and artists do the clowning around. But don’t worry, the ‘80s are bound to come to an end sometime.”